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Stormlab or GR Level 3

I know this question has probably been brought up a thousand times, but I wanted to ask in my situation. I recently purchased a new laptop and am waiting on it to arrive. I will be using it for chasing, BUT I doubt wifi will be readily available where I am, so it will mostly be used at home on the laptop before I go out and if I get lucky and catch a wifi spot then thats great. So should I get Stormlab + Interwarn combo or get the GR Level 3 program?
 
Do you want the best radar software available to the public at a reasonable price? GR.

Do you want pretty good radar software along with NWS text products? StormLab / InterWarn combo.

Or get GR and RealEMWIN for Internet feeds of text products.

Since all three packages and Tim's Digital Atmosphere have free trials - try it yourself.

- Rob
 
Originally posted by George Tincher
I have heard nothing but good things about GR Level 3. And it seems to be very reasonably priced as well.

We've got GR Level 3 in the weather office where I work, and just love it. We got it last fall, and havent had many severe weather set ups to use it in as of yet. But in playing around with it a bit, it seems like an amazing program.
 
I haven't really taken GR for a test drive, but I've had StormLab thru the last season, and I love it. It's ease of use is unparallelled. It automatically downloads the last 5 radar frames, so you get a rad loop right from the get-go. Another thing I love is the autodownload utility, which will automatically download and archive selected radar data as soon as it is available continuously as long as the utility is running.

Like I said, I haven't had a chance to test GRLevel3, but this is what I think of StormLab.

Later
Woodster
 
I tried Storm Lab last season and thought it was a good program. But I have been working with GRLevel3 for the last month and IMHO it is a great “radarâ€￾ program. I was so impressed I purchased it last week. The customization is almost unlimited and the startup time is extremely fast. One of the things I like best are the relatively small data file sizes. It is my thought that when trying to grab a radar shot in the field, this will be very helpful. As stated above, download trial versions of each, try’em, play with ‘em, compare features, price ect… and get the one that works for you.

Originally posted by rdale

Do you want pretty good radar software along with NWS warnings? StormLab.
- Rob

? I know you are far more knowledgeable about GR than I, but GR does display warning information, both text versions and map overlays.
 
My own program (personal plug) Digital Atmosphere ( http://www.weathergraphics.com/da ) will handle radar data (downloading automatically and allow GPS overlays). While I wouldn't consider it superior nor inferior to GR3 or SL, it is certainly a different twist, as it allows use of canned data (from HAS at http://hurricane.ncdc.noaa.gov/pls/plhas/has.dsselect ) and integration with other data types, and it is a true jack-of-all-trades program. The Professional Version has actual raster basemaps all the way down to 1:250K that you can use with the radar data, while the others rely on "stick figure" type vector maps.

The only real downside I can toss out is that Digital Atmosphere does not yet support animation, and the county warnings module has not been fixed yet, but I'm working on that! Also the cost for the full version is a little bit steeper, if I remember correctly. As rdale pointed out, try them all out!

Tim
 
"but GR does display warning information, both text versions and map overlays."

I agree - I was referring to the Interwarn combo he was talking about with SL, which allows the full text of EMWIN products. Should have worded that better...

- Rob
 
Hands down GRLevel 2 and 3. If you can get live data from allisonhouse then go for the Level 2 to view that!

The tech support with GR is amazing. I have never purchased a piece of software where the tech support is almost always available. GR has it!

Mike is constantly coming out with new updates. It only gets better! The smoothing is also a great feature. If you like smoothing :)

Level 2 Image Grab from a storm that produced hail here in Paducah last week.

:)

114596fa31e443863d84c65f4dc69282.jpg
 
I know GR Level 3 has the unique radar smoothing feature that would seem to come in handy when a storm is small enough that a "pixelated" image becomes a problem when zooming in. However, I also feel like smoothing out the image might take away from the accuracy or the "authenticity" of the image. What are some of your opinions on this? Would smoothing out an image somehow render it "unofficial" if the images are used in a report in the future? Obviously, smoothing out the image is a lot easier on the eye and may aid in the chasing process when small storms are being observed.

Owen
---------------------------
Cornell University
 
Originally posted by Owen Shieh
I know GR Level 3 has the unique radar smoothing feature that would seem to come in handy when a storm is small enough that a \"pixelated\" image becomes a problem when zooming in. However, I also feel like smoothing out the image might take away from the accuracy or the \"authenticity\" of the image. What are some of your opinions on this? Would smoothing out an image somehow render it \"unofficial\" if the images are used in a report in the future? Obviously, smoothing out the image is a lot easier on the eye and may aid in the chasing process when small storms are being observed.

Owen
---------------------------
Cornell University

Regarding smoothing, it's all personal preference. But, if you are looking to do a report of some sort, then I would suggest using the original data - As that is the current standard. I also feel that smoothing takes away from the *real* data, by filling in areas with higher Dbz than there should be, but it does make for a nice looking picture! The only time I will use smoothing is when displaying a cross section, that way it kind of acts as an interpolation.
 
"However, I also feel like smoothing out the image might take away from the accuracy or the "authenticity" of the image"

Thunderstorms are not composed of 1km x 1 degree blocks so neither will be perfect ;> If a smoothing algorithm is done right (better than what you see on TV) and with the raw data, not the image itself (as some radar programs do) you probably are not losing any of the "authenticity."
 
Since I bought GR, I haven't touched SL. The support on GR is very nice, can't say the same for SL. GPS only works if you purchase GR, and it's well worth the money. GR supports shapefiles so you have alot of overlay options. I've used GR on several chases and don't know how I chased without it. It's nice having it when you're in a unfamiliar area, no more switching back and forth between the radar software and Street Atlas.

A side note to all of this...Make sure if you use more than one application with GPS, buy GpsGate. (http://www.franson.com/gpsgate/) It allows you to share your one GPS with multiple applications. (yes, it works great with the little yellow USB Earthmate too) This way you could use GR, SL, and Street Atlas at the same time with no problems.

Stan, K9SWX
 
Can you explain how shapefiles work, what they are, and where to get them?
I just purchased the new Dell Inspiron XPS Gen 2
Intel® Pentium® M Processor 760 (2 GHz/2MB Cache/533MHz FSB)
17 inch UltraSharpâ„¢ Wide Screen UXGA Display with TrueLifeâ„¢
1GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz 2 Dimm
256MB NVIDIA® GeForce™ Go 6800 Ultra
100GB Hard Drive

Hopefully :wink: , it will have enough power to finally run all of the WX software. Both of my laptops crashed the other day during a chase. Bad feeling, fortunately my son was sitting in front of my computer at home looking at GRLevel3 and directing me over the cell phone.

I am excited about GRLevel3 working with GPS and would appreciate information on shapefiles.

I also have Bluetooth chip on the computer that will hopefully allow me to use my cell phone to connect to the internet out in the field.
What do you use for wireless connectivity?
 
I think I'm gonna jump in and buy it. I just got a big chunk of change back from PayPal, so I can now afford things :wink:

It works pretty fast on my laptop:

2.4GHz
512MB RAM
40GB HDD
64MB ATI RADEON 9200 (overclocked by me to a RADEON 9600)

Smoothing works just fine, and a Dell XPS is pretty high end, so you won't have a problem...
 
Shapefiles are geographic data files with a format originated by ESRI, Inc., the premier GIS software developer. I am fortunate to have access to ESRI software at my job, but there are free shapefile utilities and viewers available. I haven't personally used this, but a search came up with something that seems to fill the bill: http://www.digitalgrove.net/fgis.htm

Suggest you disable your laptop's power management features and "screensavers" while on AC, and really diminish their invocation thresholds on battery. I've found those features tend to discombobulate things like GPS mapping programs, etc., and even crash the computer.
 
Originally posted by David Wolfson
Suggest you disable your laptop's power management features and \"screensavers\" while on AC, and really diminish their invocation thresholds on battery. I've found those features tend to discombobulate things like GPS mapping programs, etc., and even crash the computer.

Good advice... My laptop had those settings "on", and it dropped my CPU from 2.4GHz to 1.4GHz, and would crash while playing FarCry... I turned all of that crap off, and everything runs pretty quick, though, now my laptop eats the battery in ~30 minutes :lol:
 
Buddy and I have been using the trial of GR3 for the last few weeks and love it. We are planning on a purchase this friday.... also getting GPS for the laptop .. gonna be cool!

Dave
 
gr level 3 is great. And their tech support is timely. although i dont have smoothing capabilities,it's still the best tool out there for your money.
 
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